Defining Quality Services

The new Performance Standards, released September 2016, build upon 50 years of leadership in comprehensive early childhood services birth to five.

The most significant change in the new standards is requiring programs, over time, to offer longer service duration. The new standards require that all Head Start center-based programs offer at least 1,020 annual hours of service for preschoolers by August 1, 2021, with at least 50 percent of their center-based preschool slots meeting this requirement by August 1, 2019. Early Head Start center-based programs must also provide 1,380 annual hours of service by August 1, 2018.